LSU Steel Bridge Team Takes First Place, Advances to Nationals

June 3, 2021

Two men working on a steel bridge frameBATON ROUGE, LA – LSU Engineering students recently competed in the AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction) Steel Bridge Competition and finished first at the event, which was virtual due to COVID-19.

The team, captained by James David Fuller, coached by Emily Rone, and advised by alumnus Josh Olivier, took first place at regionals and advanced to nationals for the second year in a row.

Other team members include Eli Barbin, Rebecca Barrows, Hannah DiLeo, Keith Furr, Cody Harris, Lauren Hynson, Dana Lochary, Meagan Moore, Madalyn Mouton, Jack Ostrowski, Joseph Richardson, Hong Zhu, and Zillah Zoleta. LSU CEE Assistant Professor Sabarethenam Kameshwar was the faculty advisor.

The AISC Steel Bridge Competition is an annual, national event that challenges students to design and build a 20-foot-long steel bridge conforming to dimensional parameters that change annually. In addition to the dimensional constraints that the team must consider, the design of the bridge is also optimized around formulas that consider weight, construction speed, the number of builders, and deflection under load. These scoring formulas are modified annually as well. 

“Some years the team may want to build a fast and light bridge at the expense of strength, but in other years a slow, heavy, and strong bridge might be ideal,” Olivier said. “Figuring out the subtleties to the new formulas and choosing a construction strategy to design around are significant parts of the year for the team.”

The 2021 team recorded their build in Patrick F. Taylor Hall with one allowed attempt. After construction, the team loaded the bridge with 2,600 lbs. and passed the structural assessment. While working on the bridge, students utilized skills learned within their classes and applied them to real-world challenges. The competition also allows students the ability to gain hands-on experience with software, materials, tools, and fabrication processes that they likely would not have encountered through any class, Olivier said.

LSU has been competing in the AISC Steel Bridge Competition for more than 20 years. The competition is not part of a class but is rather part of an LSU club wherein students, regardless of their discipline, can partake in helping design and build the bridge.


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Contact: Libby Haydel

Communications Specialist